Imam Ali and Spiritualization of Islamic Monotheism

  December 09, 2020   Read time 1 min
Imam Ali and Spiritualization of Islamic Monotheism
Islamic Sharia in its early form evolved into complicated spiritual doctrine by devoted efforts of Imam Ali.

In addition to the numerous Prophetic sayings concerning Ali as the most important member of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt, there are sayings of the Prophet concerning Ali specifically, which deserve to be cited in detail, as it is only the basis of these sayings that one can begin to appreciate the immensely important role of Ali in the spiritual dimension of the Islamic faith. These sayings or traditions will be presented in the form of a list, with minimal comment, this being the way in which they are presented in most standard collections of traditions. If one takes prophetic guidance seriously, one cannot but take Ali seriously, and it is largely for this reason that countless Muslims through the centuries have meditated upon these sayings, drawing from them diverse interpretations as well as incalculable inspiration. In a certain sense, these sayings are like the prism through which Ali is viewed by the tradition, and they serve to enhance one’s spiritual receptivity to his teachings. The crucial importance of Ali in the spiritual firmament of nascent Islam emerges with greater clarity in the light of these prophetic descriptions of him; they should thus be regarded as a significant aspect of the ‘prophetic background’ to Ali’s seminal contribution to Islamic spiritual and intellectual life, whether in Shia, Sunni or Sufi context. In one saying attributed to Ali, there is a reference to the Prophet as the first of those who were taught by God the science of Interpretation, and that he, the Prophet, in turn taught Ali the same. According to the Prophet, as noted earlier, ‘Truly, Ali is with the Quran, and the Quran is with Ali.’ In another famous saying, often quoted by Sufi commentators, Ali claimed to be able to load seventy camels with the pages of the commentary he could give on the opening chapter of the Quran, the Fatiha. It should be noted also that Ali’s cousin, Ibn Abbas, often referred to as the ‘first commentator’, claims to have learnt the science of interpretation from Ali (Source: Justice and Rememberance).